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Jeremiah 38 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Jeremiah Thrown into a Cistern

38 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal[a] son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchijah heard the words Jeremiah was speaking to all the people: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever surrenders to the Chaldeans will live. He will retain his life like the spoils of war and will live.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘This city will most certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon’s army, and he will capture it.’”

The officials then said to the king, “This man ought to die, because he is weakening the morale[b] of the warriors who remain in this city and of all the people by speaking to them in this way. This man is not pursuing the welfare of this people, but their harm.”

King Zedekiah said, “Here he is; he’s in your hands since the king can’t do anything against you.” So they took Jeremiah and dropped him into the cistern of Malchiah the king’s son, which was in the guard’s courtyard, lowering Jeremiah with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.

But Ebed-melech, a Cushite court official in the king’s palace, heard Jeremiah had been put into the cistern. While the king was sitting at the Benjamin Gate, Ebed-melech went from the king’s palace and spoke to the king: “My lord the king, these men have been evil in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah. They have dropped him into the cistern where he will die from hunger, because there is no more bread in the city.”

10 So the king commanded Ebed-melech, the Cushite, “Take from here thirty men under your authority[c] and pull the prophet Jeremiah up from the cistern before he dies.”

11 So Ebed-melech took the men under his authority[d] and went to the king’s palace to a place below the storehouse.[e] From there he took old rags and worn-out clothes and lowered them by ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed-melech the Cushite called down to Jeremiah, “Place these old rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did this. 13 They pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, but he remained in the guard’s courtyard.

Zedekiah’s Final Meeting with Jeremiah

14 King Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and received him at the third entrance of the Lord’s temple. The king said to Jeremiah, “I am going to ask you something; don’t hide anything from me.”

15 Jeremiah replied to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, you will kill me, won’t you? Besides, if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.”

16 King Zedekiah swore to Jeremiah in private, “As the Lord lives, who has given us this life, I will not kill you or hand you over to these men who intend to take your life.”

17 Jeremiah therefore said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord, the God of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If indeed you surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then you will live, this city will not be burned, and you and your household will survive. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city will be handed over to the Chaldeans. They will burn it, and you yourself will not escape from them.’”

19 But King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am worried about the Judeans who have defected to the Chaldeans. They may hand me over to the Judeans to abuse me.”

20 “They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the Lord in what I am telling you, so it may go well for you and you can live. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is the verdict[f] that the Lord has shown me: 22 ‘All the women[g] who remain in the palace of Judah’s king will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon and will say to you,[h]

“Your trusted friends[i] misled[j] you
and overcame you.
Your feet sank into the mire,
and they deserted you.”

23 All your wives and children will be brought out to the Chaldeans. You yourself will not escape from them, for you will be seized by the king of Babylon and this city will burn.’”

24 Then Zedekiah warned Jeremiah, “Don’t let anyone know about this conversation[k] or you will die. 25 The officials may hear that I have spoken with you and come and demand of you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king; don’t hide anything from us and we won’t kill you. Also, what did the king say to you?’ 26 If they do, tell them, ‘I was bringing before the king my petition that he not return me to the house of Jonathan to die there.’” 27 All the officials did come to Jeremiah, and they questioned him. He reported the exact words to them the king had commanded, and they quit speaking with him because the conversation[l] had not been overheard. 28 Jeremiah remained in the guard’s courtyard until the day Jerusalem was captured, and he was there when it happened.[m]

Footnotes:

  1. 38:1 = Jehucal in Jr 37:3
  2. 38:4 Lit hands
  3. 38:10 Lit men in your hand
  4. 38:11 Lit men in his hand
  5. 38:11 Or treasury
  6. 38:21 Or promise; lit word
  7. 38:22 Or wives
  8. 38:22 to you supplied for clarity
  9. 38:22 Lit “The men of your peace
  10. 38:22 Or incited
  11. 38:24 Lit about these words
  12. 38:27 Lit word
  13. 38:28 Or captured. This is what happened when Jerusalem was captured:
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Jeremiah 38 New International Version (NIV)

Jeremiah Thrown Into a Cistern

38 Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehukal[a] son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah was telling all the people when he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians[b] will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’ And this is what the Lord says: ‘This city will certainly be given into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’”

Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”

“He is in your hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing to oppose you.”

So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

But Ebed-Melek, a Cushite,[c] an official[d] in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, Ebed-Melek went out of the palace and said to him, “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city.”

10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melek the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”

11 So Ebed-Melek took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” Jeremiah did so, 13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.

Zedekiah Questions Jeremiah Again

14 Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and had him brought to the third entrance to the temple of the Lord. “I am going to ask you something,” the king said to Jeremiah. “Do not hide anything from me.”

15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I give you an answer, will you not kill me? Even if I did give you counsel, you would not listen to me.”

16 But King Zedekiah swore this oath secretly to Jeremiah: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has given us breath, I will neither kill you nor hand you over to those who want to kill you.”

17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live. 18 But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians and they will burn it down; you yourself will not escape from them.’”

19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have gone over to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me.”

20 “They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has revealed to me: 22 All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon. Those women will say to you:

“‘They misled you and overcame you—
    those trusted friends of yours.
Your feet are sunk in the mud;
    your friends have deserted you.’

23 “All your wives and children will be brought out to the Babylonians. You yourself will not escape from their hands but will be captured by the king of Babylon; and this city will[e] be burned down.”

24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone know about this conversation, or you may die. 25 If the officials hear that I talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; do not hide it from us or we will kill you,’ 26 then tell them, ‘I was pleading with the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.’”

27 All the officials did come to Jeremiah and question him, and he told them everything the king had ordered him to say. So they said no more to him, for no one had heard his conversation with the king.

28 And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

The Fall of Jerusalem

This is how Jerusalem was taken:

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 38:1 Hebrew Jukal, a variant of Jehukal
  2. Jeremiah 38:2 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 18, 19 and 23
  3. Jeremiah 38:7 Probably from the upper Nile region
  4. Jeremiah 38:7 Or a eunuch
  5. Jeremiah 38:23 Or and you will cause this city to
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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